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Immingham farmer in Co-op next generation programme

A TALENTED young farmer from Immingham has been chosen to take part in the Co-op's Farming Pioneers programme.

Immingham farmer in Co-op next generation programme

The scheme is the retailer's unique training course that nurtures young agricultural talent.

Participants of the Co-op Farming Pioneers programme have to undergo a rigorous selection process in order to ensure they come equipped for the challenge.

Laura Ballard, 24, from Immingham, is an assistant farm manager at a 300,000 Hook2Sisters bird farm.

Having had no previous agricultural experience until she joined the company three years ago, Laura now has future ambitions to become a farm manager.

First launched in April 2016, Co-op Farming Pioneers was created with the aim of developing 60 of the agricultural industry's future leaders aged between 21 and 35, over a period of two years.

Laura said of gaining her place on the programme: "I am very excited to be one of this year's Farming Pioneers.

"It is a unique opportunity to make some industry contacts and learn more about the Co-op's supply chains."

The Co-op Farming Pioneers programme will see 60 young people in total participate in a comprehensive training programme and development scheme over the next two years.

The 20 days of training per group covers topics as diverse as business growth and negotiation skills and gives those involved the chance to learn management skills.

Throughout the duration of the course, they will meet leaders from across the supply chain, develop an understanding of key business principles and skills.

They will visit real-life case studies to see these principles in action and really gain a feel for the industry.

This training programme equips participants with the knowledge, business skills and personal awareness to develop growing and resilient businesses which will thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Ciara Gorst, the Co-op's head of agriculture, said: "We are delighted to be welcoming Laura into the 2017 Farming Pioneers programme.

"For these young people, it really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where they will have a chance to learn from some of the agriculture industry's leading lights, share their experiences and adopt these principles in the businesses they have a stake in.

"They will be exposed to some high profile challenging situations and we look forward to seeing the new group gain the range of new skills and build the contacts which will last throughout their careers, just as those in the first group are doing. The Co-op Farming Pioneers programme is part of our long-term commitment to supporting British agriculture, and an important part in developing our relationships, both present and future, with our farming supply base.

"We know participants gain huge insight into the business skills needed to compete on a world market and will complete the programme with a greater understanding of the whole supply chain and its relationship to value creation."

If you are interested in following Laura's journey and her fellow participants, the Co-op regularly update their Twitter feed. To keep up-to-date with what the young pioneers get up too, search the hashtag #farmingpioneers.

Here you will be able to see photographs and videos of what the future leaders will be getting up to throughout their training.

For more information on this training programme, you can visit Co-op's news website:

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